The Academy Of Applied Martial Arts

Tradition To The Extreme

Taama's Training Blog

view:  full / summary

Optimum Martial Fitness

Posted by Don Burnell on January 13, 2016 at 7:30 PM Comments comments (14)

The Body

 Optimum martial fitness is the combination of five elements that will allow your mind, body and spirit to come together taking you to higher levels of physical and mental success... Nutrition, Strength, Flexibility, Endurance Mental preparation,

Obtaining OMF is the physical aspect of martial arts training. The quest for this is what prepares your body for the likely hood of defending yourself. As we have discussed the mental aspect in earlier text, we now need to cover the physical aspect of your training. All though this is just an overview, OMF is essential in the development of the martial trinity.


Have you heard the old adage that “You are what you eat”? What about, “There is no magic supplement that will make you a super martial artist”? Well, I am here to tell you that they are both absolutely true!

I am astonished at how many people who are into martial arts, as well as fitness, who have little or no knowledge about nutrition. I was one of them up until about 1986 when I was asked,” How’s your diet”? That question opened my eyes to a much neglected part of my training.

These days, when I am approached by my students and they inquire about getting into better shape, or dropping a few extra pounds, the first question I ask is, “How is your diet?” Most just say it is ok. Then I ask, “What did you have for lunch today?” “Oh… burger, fries, and a coke.” “We need to talk”. I tell them. A good nutrition program is a vital part of your everyday life.

 There is just one more thing I want to touch on before we get into it, nutrition that is.

The word DIET in my book is a great big No No; this word has an underlying psychological effect. For one thing the first three letters spell Die with a plus sign behind it. Secondly, it sends the body into survival mode. Why? Because most of us whom hear or speak the word diet associate it with depriving ourselves of the foods we love.

So in essence the body is going to hold on to what ever is put into it for as long as it thinks it is on a diet, it will stay in survival mode. So let’s get into the habit of using a physiological friendly term, Nutrition program.

Some of us live to train and as we get older we train to live. Which ever category you fall under you need energy, so in order for you to give your body the energy it needs, you must have an adequate caloric intake. The amount of calories needed depends upon different factors, such as age, height, muscle and fat mass, gender or if you are training for competition or just to stay fit.

Not getting enough calories can have an adverse effect on your energy level thus affecting your workouts; too many calories can leave you feeling stuffed and lethargic which will also affect your workout.

It is important that you fuel your body through out the day; this will ensure that all body functions are working at an optimal level.

Laying the foundation for an effective nutrition program is a simple process. You must understand what the basic nutrients are and how much is needed. As martial artists, you should know why these nutrients are vital.


What is protein? Protein is the basic building block for muscle development, growth repair and movement.

Effects of training on protein Training on a regular basis, will cause a breakdown of muscle, and loss of protein from the body. It is essential that the protein stores be replenished with a quality source of protein during recovery period after the training session.

Protein contributes approximately 5% of the energy used in your daily workouts. This is only when the glycogen levels in the muscles are at their peak. On the flip side, if you have not taken in enough calories or carbohydrates, and the glycogen stores are low, protein is used for 10% of your energy and not for muscle growth or repair in which it was intended.

 How much protein is needed?

As martial artist we are considered endurance athletes or Martialete as I call us. Martialete need at least 50% more protein than non martialete. Protein should comprise between 12 to 15 % of your daily caloric intake. To figure out exactly how many grams of protein you need, multiply your current weight by 0.6 or weight in kilo gram by 1.3.This will give you the number of grams you need to consume daily.

 What are good sources of protein?

Good sources of protein include lean red meat poultry, fish eggs, and dairy products other sources include nuts legumes and dried beans.


What are carbohydrates? Carbohydrates or carbs for short, are the preferred fuel of the body, their primary function is to supply continuous energy to the cells. Carbs are the first form of energy used during a workout... There are 2 types of carbs simple and complex.

Simple carbohydrates contain small amounts of sugar molecule. Sources include candy cookies cakes pies soda and fruit. These types of food with the exception of fruit should not be consumed prior to exercise as the lead to fatigue. Complex carbohydrates contain large amounts of sugar molecules.

How many carbs should I eat? Carbs should make up 60 to 70% of your total calories, to figure out the amount that is right for you, multiply your weight in pounds by 3.2 or in kilo grams by 7 this will give you the number of grams you should consume daily. Good sources of carbs

The best sources for carbs are gain products such as bread, rice, cereal and pasta. Other sources include fruits vegetable preferable green leafy vegetables and low fat dairy products.


Fat provides energy to muscles during your workout, initially the body burns carbs, but as the workout becomes more intense, the body begins to use the fat as its energy source.

Fat consumption should not exceed 30% of your total calories. Foods high fats include chocolate, fried foods, hot dogs, bacon and ice cream.

Even thought fats are a necessary part of your nutrition program, it is not advisable for you to go out prior to a workout and chow down on fatty foods. Fat takes a minimum of three to five hours to digest this will make you feel lazy and the intensity of your work out will be affected.


 Water intake is critical to all body functions; it makes up 70% of your body weight. Water moves nutrient throughout the body, and helps remove the waste. An inadequate supply of water in your system will cause dehydration.

Dehydration can cause muscle and body fatigue, which will reduce your martialetic performance.

 The recommended amount of water intake is eight to ten glasses a day, although when training, you need to drink more fluids to replace the ones lost during your training session. Also remember that drinks that contain alcohol or caffeine should be avoided, as they will contribute to dehydration.

 When training in extreme heat, you must remember that you will sweat more. So it of the utmost importance that you supplement this increase loss of fluid with more an adequate amount of water. Another important fact to keep in mind is that is just as dangerous to intake to much water as it is too little. As a martialete you need to experiment with different levels of fluid intake to find out hat works best for you to ensure your performance is at it best.

 Vitamins and Minerals

 If your nutrition program is planned properly the use of supplemental vitamins and minerals will not be necessary, they would only be needed I there was some type of deficiency. If you decide to begin supplementing, do your research, and above all…follow the recommended dosage listed on the container as using large doses of certain vitamins and minerals can be toxic and even fatal.

 Time to eat

 When you eat is as important as what types of food you eat. A proper nutrition program is important not only for training or competition, but in our every day lives. Consuming a meal or snack an hour or two prior to your workout will ensure that you have plenty of energy to blast through it. 

Train To Live

The Iron Sensei



Strength Training for Defense based Martial Arts

Posted by Don Burnell on June 5, 2014 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

In the last segment we broke down the principles for power training in self defense based martial arts, and the #1 principle was strength,

What is Strength? Simply put, strength —is the ability to exert maximum muscular force.

Now we have to ask ourselves what is the basis of Martial Arts?

Conflict! That is the rawest form of the martial arts, a brutal interaction between two opposing forces, one attacking and one defending.

Two opposing forces, calling upon their muscles to exert max force at a moment notice; all for the purpose of survival. Pretty intense huh.....

The techniques used in Martial arts/ Self-defense are powerfully explosive; they are not intended to be executed half heartedly. I have always told my students, that the way you practice in the dojo is the way you will react in a real defense situation. So when you train, execute all your techniques with power and conviction. Side note (In the dojo control must be exercised to avoid injuring your training partner).

How does it apply to martial arts?

As it was stated earlier, techniques learned in martial arts based self defense training are powerful and explosive, and purpose of the Strength training exercises you choose should be geared towards enhancing those concepts. Just remember... when it comes to strength training, it is not the quantity but the quality of your lift. Stay focused on the proper way to execute each exercise in your routine. It is no different than when you are learning to throw a reverse punch, or a stomp side or kick or your first Kata.....technique is king.

How to improve your strength

The key to increased Strength is the application of the proper and correct amount of stress on the designated muscle group, and regularity of training. I have too warn you though don’t fall into the trap that I do when I take time off do not go all out in your first few days, nice and easy see that the way to do it. One of the main reasons for injury in strength training is too much stress. So don’t try to get into shape to quickly; it will come.

Basic guideline for your workout plan

1. Warm up should be at least 10 to 15 minutes. I usually do 20 minutes on the treadmill, but you can perform any type aerobic activity the will increase the blood flow to the large muscle groups...... your goal is to break a light sweat.

2. Use just enough weight to fatigue the muscle during the exercise. Remember that 60 to eighty percent of you maximum lift able weight is sufficient to produce gains in strength

3. Perform the predestinated sets and reps in each exercise of your training routine. are a

4. Depending on your training program, Increase or decrease the amount of reps x sets and weigh for each exercise.

5. Breathe Control First never hold your breath. Exhale up inhale down.

6. Consistency! Stick with your program. It will get easier as time goes on, and you will soon feel the benefits.

I have been lifting weights off and on since the age of 13, and been a practitioner of the martial arts since the age of 16, and I have always considered myself pretty darn hardcore when to came down to training... I lived for it. However, time goes by.... and the winds of change keep on blowing. Now that I have reached that pinnacle age of 50, I had to change my attitude from living to train to training to live. So I adapted my method of training from a modified bodybuilding type routine, to using a High intensity circuit training program. I thought the transition was going to be a tough, and I would not get the same feeling of power as did using my previous routine. Well, I can honestly say that my current training routine did not disappoint, it has help me to improve my muscular functionality, and I can definitely feel a difference when teaching a class, or when the opportunity presents itself... doing a little friendly sparring.

Now with that being said, before you begin down your path of iron, the first thing you need to do is your research. Go out and get a few different opinions on the different types and methods of training that are out there, that way you can make an informed decision about how to precede in your training. And the t source for research.... the internet; or if your old school like me, and like to hold your research material in your hands, you can go to your local bookstore pick up a copy of a popular muscle magazine or strength training book, or order it online.

In closing there are many different strength training programs power lifting, bodybuilding, physiques training, cross fit. The problem with those types of training is that it is not geared improving your martial arts skill out there, So do your home work find out what is going work best for you and the enhancement of your Defense skills .

In the next cast we will be covering speed what it is? How it applies to martial arts? And how to improve it

Until next time

Train to live and live to train

I am Don The Iron Sensei Burnell

The Quest for Self Defense.

Posted by Don Burnell on May 22, 2014 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (1)

The Quest for Self Defense

The want for the ability to defend one’s self is as old as man himself. In the early day it was man vs. man and man vs. beast, and the only person he could rely was himself and his family for survival.

Fast forward to today. The only difference from those day gone by and today is... we don’t have to worry about the beasts and the innovations of today has made life easier. However, there is still the threat of man vs. man for survival. If you are skeptical about that last statement, just turn on the news. There are many horrific events happening in our society today. So the ability to defend yourself and your family is just as critical today as it was back in prehistoric time.

In the next few blogs, we will be discussing the element of self-defense and the and the underlying principles that will help you become proficient in applying you newly learned skills in the event you must defend yourself or loved ones.

Don "The Iron Sensei" Burnell